Previous research has illustrated fencers to have a greater cross-sectional area of the dominant forearm, arm and thigh (Margonato et al., 1994), highlighting that muscle imbalances can be a problem in fencing. The aim of the current study was to examine ipsilateral and bilateral muscle imbalances in knee, shoulder and hip flexion and extension in club level fencers, which have all previously been established as the main contributors to the maximum velocity of the weapon during the lunge movement (Bottoms, Greenhalgh and Sinclair, 2013).

Twelve club level fencers (age 28±4yrs; height 165±18cm; weight 75±12kg) were recruited. They each undertook three different movements on an isokinetic dynamometer (Biodex, System 2). The movements included knee flexion and extension, shoulder flexion and extension and hip flexion and extension. All were performed at 60°/s on both dominant and non-dominant sides. Peak torques during concentric contraction of both the opposing muscle groups were determined and from this a muscle group ratio was calculated to determine ipsilateral imbalances. In addition, bilateral ratio was determined using peak torque values.
The mean (±SD) peak torque at the non-dominant quadriceps during knee flexion was 147.4 ±52.6 Nm compared to dominant which was 155.8 ±54.9 Nm, this gave a bilateral ratio of 0.93 ±0.18. Only two of the twelve fencers exhibited distinct bilateral imbalances between non dominant and dominant sides. The mean hamstring peak torque was 80.0 ±23.1 Nm for non-dominant, compared to 87.3 ±26.7 Nm for dominant. The mean hamstring: quadriceps for non-dominant was 0.56 ±0.10, compared to 0.57 ±0.12 for dominant with nine fencers for both sides demonstrating an imbalance. No bilateral imbalances were found for either flexion at the shoulder or hip (1.01 ±0.17 and 0.99 ±0.11 ratios respectively). Neither were there bilateral imbalances for extension at the shoulder and hip (1.09 ±0.29, 0.99 ±0.39 ratios respectively).

In conclusion, club level fencers do not appear to have bilateral imbalances at the shoulder, hip and knee joints, which disagrees with previous research (Tsoiakis et al., 2006). The results could be due to increased strength and conditioning knowledge by both the coach and fencers producing a more balanced training routine.

Bottoms L, Greenhalgh A and Sinclair J. (2013). Acta Bioeng Biomech, 15(4),109-13.
Margonato V, Roi GS, Cerizza C et al. (1994). Journal of Sports Science, 12, 567-72.
Tsoiakis CH, Bogdanis GC amd Vagenas G. (2006). Journal of Human Movement Studies, 50, 201-215.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventEuropean College of Sports Science -
Duration: 4 Jul 20178 Jul 2017


ConferenceEuropean College of Sports Science


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